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25 Nov 2009

An Extra Rupee

My husband dropped me off at the main road this morning, from where I could take an auto to work. As usual, the driver asked me for "10 rupees extra" and I agreed. It's nearly impossible to find an auto who will bring me to work, without extra cash. We had barely started moving when another customer asked him if he could get a ride to Ganesha Temple in Thippasandra. Our generous driver agreed.

As the man was about to get into the seat next to me, the auto driver asked him to share the driver seat with him. I can't help thinking... hmm.. he has no qualms about cheating me, a lady, out of 10 bucks but he is concerned about how I might feel having a stranger (man) sit next to me. Values change to suit people's needs He doesn't want to hurt my woman-sentiments but he doesn't mind hurting my wallet. Well, well, well! For some reason, most auto-drivers think that it is completely fair to charge us poor customers extra fare because we look richer than them and we can just afford it whereas they need it. It is as if they have a right to do that.

The stranger got off at the Ganesha temple and paid the driver 10 bucks. The minimum on an auto ride is Rs. 14 but the driver didn't complain. He was making 10 bucks to just drop someone off to a place which was enroute where I was headed. It was extra cash for his pocket, not to pay the owner of the autorickshaw as it does not show up on the meter.

It cost me Rs.35 on the meter. As per our agreement, I had to pay him Rs. 45. Now, if I told him that I didn't have change and gave him a 50-buck note, chances are that he'd round the 45 rupees off to 50. Instead, I didn't bother to look for change but just paid him Rs. 40 and he didn't complain. He'd made his extra cash anyway, from the other guy. In fact, he made Rs. 15 out of my ride. Everybody's happy!

Wait! Why am I happy? I just paid an extra 5 bucks on my ride! Well, that's not too bad; it's better than extra 10. I guess I can afford to pay the poor man a few extra rupees without making a dent in my pocket. He didn't even have a rigged meter, so must be an honest man with most others who he might judge as not-so-rich.

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